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Here's why your next TV binge should be... Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

A romantic musical comedy like nothing else you’ve ever seen.

Image: The CW

Your Next TV Binge is TheJournal.ie’s new Friday feature, recommending a box set for you to get stuck into over the weekend. This week: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. 

VALENTINE’S DAY BRINGS out the best and the worst in us all. Those lucky enough to be in a loving relationship may use the day as an excuse to lavish their other halves with attention and gifts. Those who are single might rather burn an effigy of Cupid in their back garden.

However, here’s where this Venn diagram of human society crosses over: they should ALL be watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom, who doubles down as co-creator and co-writer for the series) is living in New York; working as a high-powered, high-paid lawyer; and currently on a head-on collision course with a massive nervous breakdown.

Source: Series Every Day/YouTube

 

One day she bumps into her high school sweetheart Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III). They flirt a little. He tells her he’s been living in West Covina, California – “Just two hours from the beach, four in traffic” – and his blissful, laid-back lifestyle is exactly what she needs in her life.

Within a few days, she’s dumped everything she knows and moved to West Covina, only to discover that Josh already has a new girlfriend – physically perfect yoga teacher Valencia (Gabrielle Ruiz). So Rebecca takes a job in a local firm, where she befriends Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin). Once Paula gets clued into Rebecca’s actual reasons for moving – ie Josh – she decides to help her new BFF get the man of her dreams, no matter what the consequences.

OK, so the set-up isn’t massively original. But the way the story is told is quite unlike anything else on TV right now – and might explains why Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is widely regarded as one of the best new sitcoms to come along in quite some time.

As the story is leads you down the garden path about Rachel and Josh – or Rachel and Josh’s best friend Greg (Santino Fontana) – it slowly reveals that the biggest important love story in the show is the relationship between Rachel and Paula, two strong women who didn’t realise they’d gone through their lives without a bonding female friendship, and didn’t realise they needed one until they found each other.

And then there’s the musical numbers.

“Hang on!,” we hear you shout in shock. “Musical? You really buried the lead with that one, didn’t you??” Well, yes, it is technically a romantic musical comedy (wait, come back!), but that doesn’t mean you should let your imagination run to thinking this is just another Glee.

While the show does occasionally find Rebecca breaking into a big production – which initially led many to believe that it was a hallucinatory side-effect of that big impending nervous breakdown – the songs themselves are hilarious and perfectly executed. With the sharply hilarious minds behind The Devil Wears Prada and 500 Days Of Summer involved, no two songs are alike, but they’re all brilliantly memorable.

Sex With A Stranger is basically a Beyonce song about having a one-night stand and the fears that you may have accidentally brought home a serial killer. Having A Few People Over is an absolute Calvin Harris-esque EDM banger about laying out a cheese plate for your pals. The already infamous Sexy Getting Ready Song goes into intimate detail about what women go through before heading out on a date, and culminates with the guest rapper ringing up all his ex-girlfriends to apologise for not respecting the amount of work they put into getting ready. Or there’s Heavy Boobs which, well… you can probably guess what that one’s about.

Source: The CW Television Network/YouTube

Each episode has at least two musical numbers. They’ve already spawned countless argued-over listicle rankings, and we guarantee that by the time you get to the end of the second season, you’ll already have your own Spotify playlist.

So, yes, it is a romantic musical comedy, but it seems to have been made with people who hate sappy romance, twee musicals and run-of-the-mill sitcoms in mind. It’s staggeringly smart – the opening credits basically consist of Rebecca arguing over the sexist nature of the show’s title – and often very emotionally powerful, as the show never shies away from the harsh realities of Rebecca’s plight.

Fundamentally though, it is a very funny, often very romantic, and occasionally very musical (in the best possible way!) show that deserves your attention, whether you’re single or not.

So where can I watch it? Seasons one and two of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are available on Netflix.

Read all our TV binge recommendations here>

Why your next TV binge should be… 30 Rock>

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About the author:

Rory Cashin

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